The Story of DOKKEN’s Breathtaking Ballad “Alone Again”

I guess there are a couple of tunes you could totally skip when you craft your “’80s power ballad playlist” but Dokken’s “Alone Again” should definitely not be one of them. In fact, when I talk about Dokken with other rock fans or introduce them to people who aren’t so familiar with their career and music catalog, the discussion always starts with “Alone Again”, the highest point of their 1984 sophomore album “Tooth and Nail”. I think it was because in general I am the type of person who always searches and falls for the power ballads, but it took “Alone Again” literally just a couple of seconds to become an instant favorite and a tune I simply can’t live without; there is just something so magical about that song, Don Dokken’s spellbinding vocals, astonishing melody transformations, jumping from gentle acoustic sounds to heavy electric tornadoes; and those lyrics that fill your heart with nothing but beautiful sorrow. It’s a gorgeous but heartbreaking rock tune and it’s my duty to remind you of it, give you another reason to play it just or introduce it to you for the first time.
[My Rock Mixgtapes] presents the story of Dokken’s “Alone Again”.

  • dokken-tooth-and-nailWritten by vocalist Don Dokken and bass guitarist Jeff Pilson, the power ballad “Alone Again” was released as a single from Dokken’s 1984 album “Tooth and Nail”. After a highly unsuccessful debut album, it was do or die for Dokken. The label barely agreed to give them a second chance but thank God they did, otherwise brilliant songs such as “Alone Again” would’ve remained on a paper, rotting somewhere under a pile of music notebooks.

  • Don Dokken wrote the song back in the 1970s, when he was barely 25 years old. Here’s what he recalls about the birth of “Alone Again” during an interview with the Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio station, KBAD 94.5 FM:

“I wrote it on a little 4-track recorder, put it on a cassette and it ended up in a box for, like, eight years. And the record company, on Tooth And Nail, our second album, they said ballads are the thing. Journey had a big hit with ‘Lights’ and Night Ranger… Everybody had ballads, and we didn’t have any ballads. So I dug out a bunch of times, and [I went], ‘What’s this? ‘Alone Again’ I don’t even remember it.’ So I listened to it, and Jeff Pilson, the [Dokken] bassist, listened to it, and he said, ‘That’s a cool chorus. Maybe we [can] revamp it.’ So we recorded ‘Alone Again.'”
(extract retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net)

  • Chart positions have never been a merit for the brilliance, quality or emotional impact of a song and the fact that “Alone Again” barely broke into a top 70 position on the Billboard charts, backs up my claim. Charting at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #20 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart most certainly doesn’t make the song unworthy. On the contrary, I do believe that it’s one of the most beloved (though underappreciated) ‘80s power ballads of all time.
  • The lyrics of “Alone Again” have provoked the curiosity of many fans and music journalists and that’s not only in regards to the depressive, post-break up theme they carry. The sensual vocal delivery of Don Dokken truly makes us think whether there’s something more behind those mournful choruses. He was repeatedly questioned about the true story behind those touching words. Here’s what he says about it:

“This is a thing I wrote when I was very young, very naïve. Everybody says, ‘Who’d you write about?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘What was the girl’s name?’ ‘I don’t know.’ I must have been in love – it’s a very sad song – but I don’t remember who I wrote it about. I don’t know. It was just a song that came out, I always say, from here [points up above his head] – whatever that higher power is.”
(extract retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net)

  • Nothing obscure or overly-poetic about the lyrics; in fact the strength of those words is their simplicity, universalism and the way they are delivered to the public. Losing someone you love with all your heart can be one of the most traumatic and painful experiences of one’s life. You want to see this person “in the morning light” and feel him/her “when it comes to night” but for one reason or another you are all alone and can do nothing but feel sorry for yourself and let the tears “fall like rain”. Yes, for a couple of agonizing moments you will feel like you lost your way but this is life and unfortunately, we have to go through all that and hope that these terrible times will pass as soon as possible.

Alone Again Lyrics

I’d like to see you in the morning light
I like to feel you when it comes to night
Now I’m here and I’m all alone
Still I know how it feels, I’m alone again Tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you
Alone again without you
Alone again without you I said stay, but you turned away
Tried to say that it was me
Now I’m here and I’ve lost my way
Still I know how it feels, I’m alone again

Tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you

I tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you

 


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dokken/aloneagain.html
Quotes and Extracts, retrieved from: “The Story Behind DOKKEN’s Most Famous Ballad ‘Alone Again”,  http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/the-story-behind-dokkens-most-famous-ballad-alone-again/#L9xtCYpi0LVSdxfS.99

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

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